SUPER FUN – Amia McNeil, Jakeb Wylie, Colton Daughtery enjoyed volunteering for the Fan Experience at this year’s Super Bowl. They are UTM students and friends. Wylie is from Kenton.
by J.D. Pinkerton
Jakeb Wylie is an accounting major at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is a senior but since he has grown a friendship with the professor of sport management at UT, his life has changed dramatically. Dr. Dexter Davis is head of the Sport Management department.
He considers Dr Davis to be a good friend. He went on a trip to Hilton Head for Golf Week. He is not a golfer and plays no sports at UT but he definitely loves sports.
With that in mind he applied recently to go on the trip to Superbowl 51. Wylie said, “I went to a Rockets game while I was there, it was awesome, well worth the money! We got a lot of things for free like backpacks, shirts, jackets and hats for Super Bowl 51. Everything was on sale after gameday.”
Wylie is a native of Kenton, Tennessee, attends the Macedonia Baptist Church and graduated Gibson County High School in 2013.
On Tuesday he arrived in Houston and immediately secured issuance of his credentials. He went to training for his job on Wednesday where they taught them to be professional. They couldn’t ask for autographs on things of that nature.
Thursday he worked at the NFL Fan Experience on-location. It was the day that the fans came in, they had the Lombardi Trophy on display. There were a lot of players in there mingling with the crowd and signing autographs.
Jakeb said, “I worked at the Hail Mary Zone where fans would come in and try throwing the ball in the net. For six hours I was out there catching passes and throwing them back. There were a lot of people there, high school students, adults. We were considered volunteers on this day but on game day we were considered as NFL escorts.
We all said, “We were going to see history made this day.”
Once the players got there, they were assigned a player that they were supposed to stay with the entire time. Wylie said, “My player was Hall of Famer Marcus Allen. He played for the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1982 to 1997. He is a pretty awesome guy. For two hours my player just mingled around with the crowd. If he needed anything I would take care of it for him. We went to our perspective venue, in our case it was the stadium, mingled with the crowd. When people asked for autographs, he respectfully declined. He just wanted to mingle, didn’t want to take time to be writing all the time. Other players there were Emmanuel Sanders, Joe Theismann, Jerry Rice, many more.”
Wylie continued, “Dr. Davis put a lot of trust in us, we were responsible to making sure our players got to the right venue, making sure the drivers picked them on time. If anything went wrong it was on us.”
“We got to watch some of the first half. Our credentials got us anywhere but on the field. It was my first NFL game and it was awesome! We didn’t get to see the big comeback because we had to work the Patriot’s Post Party.
John Legend, Lil Wayne, Old Dominion were there, lots of bands performed, fans had advance tickets, there was even a place for the players to come in and enjoy the party.”
“You couldn’t be shy and do this job, you had to be able to talk to people. You couldn’t be unprofessional. I got caught up in the moment sometimes myself like when Eric Berry of the Chiefs was there. I’m still bleeding orange.I wanted his autograph, but I had to remain professional.
“It was work, but it was fun work. The best part to me was being able to escort a Hall of Famer for the day and I was the one in charge. It makes you appreciate things a lot more because so much went into it.”
Jakeb Wiley and the Falcon mascot at the Super Bowl.